Faculty

Early Childhood Faculty

Lea Nelson-Gemmell

Apple Blossom Preschool Teacher

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Lea Nelson-Gemmell received her Waldorf teaching credentials from the Waldorf Institute of Southern California in San Diego and studied early childhood development and art at Grossmont College. She taught and helped develop a strong parent-child and preschool program at the Waldorf School of San Diego and taught parent-child, preschool and kindergarten classes at East Bay Waldorf School, Cedar Springs Waldorf School and Sacramento Waldorf School before joining Camellia Waldorf as a parent-toddler and preschool teacher.

Ms. Lea joined Camellia in 2015.

Contact Lea Nelson-Gemmell: lnelson@camelliawaldorf.org

Susan Bagley

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Apple Blossom Preschool Teacher

Susan Bagley is completing her degree in Early Childhood Education at Folsom Lake College and holds several Early Childhood Certificates, including her Teaching Certificate and Infant and Toddler Certificate. She has been working in Waldorf early childhood education for over 17 years, both as a class assistant and lead teacher. She began her journey in 2005 when her children joined a local Waldorf school and she accepted a position as a preschool assistant in an in-home Waldorf program. She then moved to Cedar Springs Waldorf School as a kindergarten assistant, and from there she joined Camellia, working as a preschool assistant, kindergarten assistant, aftercare teacher and preschool teacher. 

Ms. Susan joined Camellia in 2013

Contact Ms. Susan: sbagley@camelliawaldorf.org

Shannon Leigh

Orange Blossom Preschool Teacher

Shannon Leigh has 15 units of early childhood education, holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from Jacksonville University in Florida, and a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the University of California at Davis. 

 

Ms. Shannon has over10 years of teaching experience, working in both the grades and early childhood - preschool and kindergarten. Additionally, Shannon established Camellia’s Early Childhood Summer Camp program and served as the backup preschool director for several years. 

 

Ms. Shannon joined Camellia in 2012.

Contact Shannon Leigh:  sleigh@camelliawaldorf.org

Olga Morozova

Mulberry Kindergarten Teacher

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Olga Morozova has a master’s degree in psychology from State Pedagogical University in Russia and received her Waldorf early childhood teaching credential from Rudolf Steiner College. Ms. Olga has lived throughout the world, teaching in Russia, Hungary, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. She has teaching experience in both formal and informal settings with both children and adults.

Ms. Olga joined Camellia in 2016.

Contact Olga Morozova: omorozova@camelliawaldorf.org

Courtney Wilson

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Sunflower Kindergarten Teacher

Courtney Wilson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and religious studies from Eastern University, a Master of Arts degree in art history from American University, and an Art of Teaching Certificate from the Gradalis Waldorf Teacher Education Program. Additionally, Ms. Courtney is currently completing her Waldorf early childhood teacher training certificate at the Sound Circle Center in Seattle, Washington.  

 

Ms. Courtney has been a teacher for over nine years, including seven years in Waldorf schools as a kindergarten teacher, grades class teacher and subject teacher. In 2007, Ms. Courtney and her husband, Joshua, helped to found Escuela Caracol, Guatemala’s first Waldorf school. Ms. Courtney founded the kindergarten and taught in Spanish and English there for several years.

Early childhood education has always been close to Ms. Courtney's heart. She is a storyteller with a profound love of nature which she strives to bring to her classroom in innovative ways. 

Ms. Courtney joined Camellia in 2021.

Contact Courtney Wilson: cwilson@camelliawaldorf.org

Elementary and Middle School Faculty

Chris Jansen

First Grade Teacher

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Mr. Jansen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota where he studied fine arts. He earned his Waldorf teaching credentials from Antioch University and has furthered his education in Waldorf pedagogy through the Novalis Institute in Minneapolis and Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento.

With over 15 years of Waldorf teaching experience, Mr. Jansen has taught all eight grades in a variety of schools including Sacramento Waldorf School, Honolulu Waldorf School, East Bay Waldorf School, Taos Country Day School, and Spring Hill Waldorf School.

Mr. Jansen’s roots stem from the land of the Vikings - Minneapolis, Minnesota. There he grew up with a love for the outdoors that included skating in the winter and building tree forts in the summer.

Mr. Jansen joined Camellia in 2021.

Contact Chris Jasen: cjansen@camelliawaldorf.org

Vanessa Jansen

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Second Grade Teacher

Mrs. Jansen has been a grades teacher at Honolulu Waldorf School, Spring Hill Waldorf School, and East Bay Waldorf School. A woman of many talents, she has also been theater director for the fall play at Honolulu Waldorf School for grades 1-12 for the past three years. Earlier, she served as the music teacher and did substitution at the Taos Waldorf School. In her own words, "Teaching has been a mainstay throughout my life. Like the seed that waits for the right time to be born, nestled in the earth receiving warmth and water finally shoots up and blooms to unfold, I have been nourishing my love for teaching and am ready to take on a new journey."

 

Her formal education includes two bachelor's degrees from the University of North Dakota, as well as a Foundation Studies for Waldorf training at Novalis Institute in Minneapolis and she received her Waldorf Teaching Certification from Antioch University in 2010. Outside of academia, her interests include midwifery, farming, and art.

 

Ms. Jansen joined Camellia in 2020.

Contact Vanessa Jansen: vjansen@camelliawaldorf.org

Amber Fitts

Third Grade Teacher

Amber Fitts earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. For nearly a decade, she worked in the nonprofit sector for the Fund for Public Interest Research and California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in the fields of environmental advocacy and accounting. Drawn to teaching and the values of Waldorf education, Ms. Fitts earned teaching credentials in Waldorf education and eurythmy from Rudolf Steiner College.

 

Ms. Fitts taught Camellia’s class of 2018 from first through eighth grade and she is thrilled to continue her journey at Camellia with the class of 2027.

 

Besides teaching and curriculum preparation, Ms. Fitts’ passions are in the movement arts: yoga, eurythmy, modern dance, folk dance, and ballet. She also enjoys exploring creativity through the visual arts and spending time in nature; whether hiking, biking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, or just reading a book along the shores of the American River.

 

Ms. Fitts cultivates an active interest in world travel and cultures, having ventured through Thailand, the Yucatan, Ireland, Peru, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as many of America’s national parks.

 

Ms. Fitts joined Camellia in 2010.

Contact Amber Fitts: afitts@camelliawaldorf.org

Hanna Schaffer

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Fourth Grade Teacher
 

Hanna Schaffer has a bachelor’s degree in theater, which she earned from California State Universities Fresno and Sacramento. She earned her Waldorf teaching certificate from Waldorf Teacher Education Eugene (WTEE), in Eugene, Oregon. Before coming to Camellia, Ms. Schaffer taught elementary and middle school at Cedar Springs Waldorf School. She has also taught in a variety of education-related positions including ceramics and theater and as a literacy tutor. Working with children has always been her passion, and Ms. Schaffer is delighted to be a teacher at Camellia.

Ms. Schaffer joined Camellia in 2018

 

Contact Hanna Schaffer: hschaffer@camelliawaldorf.org
 

 

Anastasia Sinclair

Fifth Grade Teacher

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Anastasia Sinclair has a bachelor’s degree in integrative studies and environmental design from Warren Wilson College and a master’s degree in Waldorf education from Rudolf Steiner College. As a child, Ms. Sinclair was a Waldorf student and graduated high school from Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm in Santa Rosa. Ms. Sinclair has taught children from first through 12th grade in Waldorf schools, most recently at the Waldorf School of the Peninsula in Los Altos and Mountain View, where she coordinated an extensive school gardening program and taught earth science in middle school and high school.

Ms. Sinclair joined Camellia in 2019.

Contact Anastasia Sinclair: asinclair@camelliawaldorf.org

Sarah Casebeer

Sixth Grade Teacher

Sarah Casebeer has a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from the University of New Hampshire and earned her Waldorf teacher certificate from the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training.

 

A Camellia parent for more than 10 years, Ms. Casebeer taught Camellia’s class of 2017 and has also been a substitute teacher and an assistant teacher in kindergarten at Camellia.

 

Ms. Casebeer Joined Camellia in 2009.

Contact Sarah Casebeer: scasebeer@camelliawaldorf.org

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Josh Amaral

Seventh Grade Teacher

 

Josh Amaral has a bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on grammar and composition from California State University Chico. More recently, he earned a master’s degree in teaching from the University of San Francisco and has California single subject teaching credentials in English and social science. Before relocating to Sacramento, Mr. Amaral taught in Chico area charter schools, where he worked with all age groups in kindergarten to 12th grade.

Mr. Amaral is an avid performer with an appreciation for live theater, music, creative writing, and the arts. He served as a youth instructor for the Chico Theater Company for four years, during which he participated in more than six youth productions and nearly twenty main stage productions. He also plays numerous instruments and is a firm believer in the power of rhythm and melody and their effect on the growing mind. Mr. Amaral enjoys photography in its many forms, painting, writing poetry and short stories, and reading classic fiction.

 

Mr. Amaral joined Camellia in 2017.

Contact Josh Amaral: jamaral@camelliawaldorf.org

Kiersen Clerkin

Eighth Grade Teacher

Kiersen Clerkin earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and information studies from the University College in Dublin, Ireland. She has always enjoyed working with young people; spending many summers as a camp counselor. Most recently, Ms. Clerkin taught and graduated the class of 2018 at Davis Waldorf School.

 

Ms. Clerkin attended Davis Waldorf School from kindergarten through eighth grade and graduated high school from Sacramento Waldorf School. A Waldorf “lifer,” Ms. Clerkin loves Waldorf education.  She believes that the middle school years are the time in which the birth of the intellect and independent thinking takes place. It is a time of wit and exploration. She is thrilled to be guiding a new group of young people through ancient Greece to modern America, exploring the excitement of physics and chemistry, and getting to see the spark that ignites in the students’ eyes when they are loving what they are learning!

 

When not teaching, Ms. Clerkin enjoys traveling, the outdoors, camping and hiking, and spending time with her family and two dogs.

 

Ms. Clerkin joined Camellia in 2018.

Contact Kiersen Clerkin: kckerkin@camelliawaldorf.org

For more information on our staff, we invite you to get in touch.